Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria delivered a brilliant day’s racing at Saturday’s Extreme Festival South African National Championships finale as Michael Stephen, Jeffrey Kruger and Stuart White emerged as South Africa’s 2018 premier category South African national racing champions.
Engen Audi duo Michael Stephen and Simon Moss started the weekend on the front foot as they closed off the front row of the Sasol Global Touring Car grid ahead ofSasol BMW pair Gennaro Bonafede and Robert Wolk, before Stephen romped off to the opening win over Moss, Bonafede and Wolk, to wrap up the 2019 title. Stephen then celebrated his title in style by coming from behind to take the reverse grid second race from Johan Fourie (EPS BMW), Daniel Rowe (VW Motorsport Jetta) and, who took second in the title race from Bonafede, top privateer Fourie and Rowe as Audi clinched the maker’s title too.
Keagan Masters put his Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI on pole position for Sasol GTC2 ahead of Devin Robertson’s Champion Mini JCW and Charl Smalberger (Q20 Golf GTI), with those three finishing the opening race in the same order ahead of Bradley Liebenberg (Ferodo Mini), Trevor Bland (Universal Golf GTI) and Adrian Wood (Kyocera Golf GTI) as Masters wrapped up his second GTC2 title on the trot. Wood then made best of the reverse grid to win race 2 from Bland, Masters Liebenberg and Smalberger as Bland snatched the title third from Liebenberg behind Masters and Robertson.
Jeffrey Kruger put his Universal Health Polo on pole for the Engen Polo Cup finale from Delon Thompson (MF Autobody) and Masters driver Juan Gerber (DAF) with Kruger’s championship rival Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life) only seventh. Kruger held Gerber, Thompson and Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco) off to take the title as pepper ended 7th, before Gerber took race 2 from Bezuidenhout, Thompson and Pepper. Kruger took the title from Pepper and VW development lad Jonathan Mogotsi as Bezuidenhout snatched fourth, Kruger took the Junior title from Mogotsi and Bezuidenhout and Pepper took the Masters title from Jason Campos and Gerber.
The Investchem Formula 1600 races were all about Scott Temple, who took pole position and two race wins to make it five wins in the last six races, but the big story was all about Stuart White, who eased his Fantastic Racing Mygale to a third and a second on the day to seal the 2018 SA championship and the Road to Indy shootout in the USA next month. Temple led White’s title rival Nicholas van Weely (Magnificent Mygale) to the opening win ahead of White, Andrew Schofield (Investchem) and Alex Gillespie (ERP Mygale) in race 1 as White ended second ahead of van Weely and Gillespie in the final. So White took the title from van Weely, Temple and Gillespie as David Jermy took both Class B wins to sneak the title from the absent Ian Schofield.
In supporting action, Franco Scribante (Porsche 997) took revenge with a couple of G&H Extreme Supercar wins over Charl Arangies (Stradale Lamborghini Gallardo GT3) after the pair’s Port Elizabeth spat, with Simon Murray’s similar Stradale Lamborghini third both times. BMW trio Kashen Naicker, Bruce Turner and JB Breedt took classes A, D and E in Race 1, while Franco Di Matteo’s popular Deltec Alfa Romeo GT took Class A in race 2 as Turner and Breedt repeated their class wins.
Di Matteo had a busy day, also winning the opening thundering V8 Supercar race in his Deltec Batteries Jaguar over Mackie Adlem’s similar car, Thomas Reib’s Lumina, Benjamin Morgenrood’s Ben Morgenrood Mustang, Izak Spies and JP Nortje's Corvette. Terry Wilford (Fuchs Falcon) then took race 2 from Adlem, Rui Campos (Corvette), di Matteo, Reib and Nortje.
On two wheels, Sven Grune and Graeme van Breda continued their epic season-long Red Square ZX10 Masters tussle as Grune narrowly beat van Breda each time with Jaco Gous third ahead of Gareth Bezuidenhout, Jonty Collard and Michael Smit in race 1. Bezuidenhout took third in the second heat from Michael Smit, Collard and Gous.
Clint Seller raced his King Price Bikefin Yamaha to Bridgestone Thunderbike honours, but second was good enough for Lance Isaacs (LIR/Supabets BMW) to clinch the title as Nicholas Grobler (GME Adrenalin Yamaha) closed off the podium. Damion Purificati (Amalgum BMW) took Class A, Morne Potgieter (Viva Kawasaki) Class B and Pierre Grobler (Kawasaki) Class C. Harry Timmermann (LIR/Supabets BMW) took Bridgestone Sub 10 Class A and Adan Barnard (Kawasaki) Class B.
Two cracking regional races rounded off the day’s action as Stiaan Kriel (Pozi Drive Pol) too opening MotoMart VW Challenge honours over Bevin Masters (CPS Polo) and Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo), while Chris Dale (Pozidrive Polo) took Class B and Christiaan de Wet (Motormart Polo) Class C. Atkinson took the second race over Kriel and Bevin Masters, while Stuart Mack (Race Technology Polo) won Class B and Andrea Furci (Polo) Class C.
Polo winner Jeffrey Kruger was another busy lad on the day as he drove his Universal Health Seven to Lotus Challenge victory each time over journo Thomas Falkiner (Adaptive Seven). Robyn Kruger (Universal) was third in race 1 from Johan Nel, David Jermy (Beauty Factory) and Clive Wilmot, while F1600 man Jermy ended third in race 2 from Nel, Sean Hewitt and Robyn Kruger.
While South Africa’s national championships may be done and dusted, it’s still all to do for among others, the Extreme Supercars, Motor Mart VW Challenge and Lotus Challenge, all of which come to a head at Zwartkops 10 November Northern Regions Extreme festival finale.